Siegel signs off on Friday, ending a storied career that saw him cover some of the most historic events in modern U.S. history.
He was in Manhattan during 9/11. He covered the fall of the Berlin Wall. And he logged countless interviews that brought into focus some of the most pressing issues of the day, as well as compelling human stories that intimately connected listeners with their subjects.
Robert Siegel speaks with Detroit Today producer Jake Neher about his retirement, his career, and the state of broadcast journalism in 2018.
“When I had first come here, the formulation that I had was that All Things Considered…was both more serious and more frivolous that competing programs,” he says. “The challenge was to have a breadth of subject matter and experience and tone that you would hear on the program.”
Siegel says broadcast journalism faces unique and unprecedented — but not insurmountable —- challenges as he prepares to leave the industry.
“It’s a peculiar time to be working in journalism with people being accused of ‘fake news,’” says Siegel. “On the other hand, the era when I became inspired to do this and when I first started working locally in New York was the era of Richard Nixon, as it turned out. And he not only said nasty things about the media, he did things… He had an enemies list that included journalists on it.”
“So, so far, this is unprecedented, the kind of vitriol against the media… but so far, I have to say, I don’t think the damage that has been done to the media compares to the Nixon days.”
Click on the audio player above to hear the full conversation.